Olivia Racette has scored a hat trick in high school soccer. Racette has hit multiple home runs in softball games.
But nothing could top Racette’s accomplishment Tuesday at Hunter Mountain. In her sixth and final try, Racette captured her first Section 9 alpine skiing title. Racette’s giant slalom run of 29.72 seconds clinched the championship.
“This ranks No. 1,” said Racette, who plays basketball for Liberty when she’s not on the slopes. “This is the first time that I brought home a big title. The other sports we made sections and haven’t come home with anything. But this one, I’ve been working for six years to get this and I finally did it.”
Racette advances to her fifth state championship on Feb. 26-27 at Bristol Mountain in Canandaigua. Racette’s winning moment was in doubt after the morning’s slalom results.
“I had won every race this season for the division,” said Racette, who placed third last season. “I was pumped today because I knew I would come away with something good. That’s (giant slalom) not my strength at all. It made me nervous because I haven’t raced giant slalom against the other division and they have some competitive girls.
“I came in third in that (giant slalom) race which is so unusual this season. I knew after that race that I have to push myself (in the slalom) so I could win and I ended up getting first in the slalom (36.60) seconds.”
Like Racette, Monticello sophomore Shane Bittinger’s boys section title was the result of hard work. Bittinger has lived on Holiday Mountain, training daily this season with an eye on his first championship. Bittinger’s slalom time of 31.91 seconds was nearly two seconds faster than Warwick’s Matt Hansen, who took second overall.
“It was probably one of the best days of my life,” said Bittinger, who had a combined time of 59.99 seconds. Hansen clocked in at 61.18 seconds. “I’ve been working for this all year. Putting it all together on the day that it counted was insane. Winning by how much I won, I was not expecting this.”
Bittinger, who has been skiing since he was 4 years old and has been Monticello’s captain since eighth grade, placed fourth in the section last season while competing with a broken hand.
“This year, I just wanted it more than anybody else and I knew this was my year,” Bittinger said.